Southern Appalachian Nature Photographers

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Night Skyscapes Photography

  • 04/09/2021
  • 04/16/2021
  • Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Registration is closed

SANP Field Event

Night Skyscapes Photography

April 9 - 16, 2021


Leader:  Ron Sentell              Phone: 865-441-2937                            E-mail:

Meeting place:  To Be Announced Later                         Time:  Late night to early morning

Registration available:  March 1


Location Description:  

I will lead a night photography field trip to photograph the Milky Way and other features of our universe during the timeframe April 9 – 16, dependent on clear skies.  These dates coincide with times when the moon is below the horizon and the Milky Way is above the horizon.  We will begin photographing about 1:30 am.  If the sky forecast is clear, we will plan on a Friday night, April 9 or April 16.   We will be out after midnight until perhaps after sunrise.  We will go to Clingmans Dome, Newfound Gap, Morton Overlook and a couple of pull-offs on the NC side of 441.  The primary interest would be to photograph the Milky Way with several wonderful foregrounds, including the tower and its spiral ramp, the trail to the tower, features of Newfound Gap, a nice C or S curve in the roadway, and panoramas with mountain peaks and valleys.  During this timeframe, the Galactic Center of the Milky Way rises between 1:13 and 1:40 am and sets between 5:33 and 5:44 am depending on the day.  Also, the Andromeda Galaxy will be rising between 3:50 and 4:20 am, depending on the day.  Sunrise occurs about 7:00 and the best colors often appear an hour before sunrise.

 A week prior to this trip, I will send an update to members who register with the probable date and more information on the Milky Way and other features in the sky, camera settings and equipment, and compositional elements.  Also, I may try to organize a Zoom meeting prior to the field trip to go over this information.  With the large parking areas at Clingmans Dome and Newfound Gap, we should not have to limit attendance.  I will make adjustments then for Covid restrictions.  If we need to limit attendance for this reason, I will schedule a second date for a second group based on order of registration.  In addition to registering on, please send me an email on your availability for a weekend versus a weekday and your interest in a Zoom meeting prior to this field trip.  The exact date may be changed the day prior to (or even the day of) our trip, depending on the weather.  I use for Newfound Gap, TN in a tabular hourly listing for cloud cover.  Ron Sentell ( 

Learning opportunities: How to locate the Milky Way and other stars. How to photograph foreground shots and the night sky.  How to find the best setting for your night time images.

What to bring:

  • Your favorite DSLR camera and lens. Extra batteries. A wide angle lens is best for the Milky Way.  I use an 11-16 mm f/2.8 zoom lens.  
  • Bring appropriate gear for the weather. It can be cold at night at Clingmans and Newfound  Gap
  • Tripods will be needed

COVID-19 precautions:

We will practice social distancing and wear masks to mitigate the risk of virus transmission.  Carpooling is not recommended.


Driving directions:  This will be provided later.

How to Find Me: 

Contacts:     Ed Stickle, President       Brad Cottrell, Membership       Website (

Southern Appalachian Nature Photographers is a 501(c)6 non-profit organization located near the Smoky Mountains in Knoxville, Tennessee.

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